While Cheryl Cole may not be a visible pop-culture force in America, she's a household name in Europe. In fact, across the pond, she's an even bigger brand than, well, Rihanna.
"She's the 'it' girl. Like, she's it [in the U.K.]," Rihanna gushed when she sat down with MTV News' Sway last week.
Selena Gomez, who's been spending quite a bit of time in Europe lately promoting her album, has also lauded the "X Factor" judge and former Girls Aloud member. But with Rihanna, who has frequently commented on her fondness for Cheryl Cole over the past two years, some might say the professional respect runs a bit deeper.
Rihanna is back on top of the charts with her latest single, "Only Girl (In the World)," and her feature on Eminem's "Love the Way You Lie." And Cheryl Cole's "Promise This" just took the #1 spot (from Rihanna, we might add) on the Billboard U.K. chart. But for both Rihanna and Cole, their current pop-music reigns come after hyper-publicized personal struggles. Rihanna was assaulted by then-boyfriend Chris Brown in February 2009, and Cole recently endured a messy divorce from soccer player Ashley Cole after she caught him cheating on her.
With their similar career trajectories, it's no wonder the mere mention of Cole brings a smile to Rihanna's face.
"She's, like, my female crush, Cheryl Cole," Rihanna said. "I mean, if you've ever seen her, she's like the most beautiful woman ever put together. I'm still upset about that!" Rihanna joked.
Cole has recently said that she plans to collaborate with Rihanna next year, and Rihanna was very enthusiastic about Cheryl's musical style.
"She makes pop music, but not the typical pop sound, and she actually has all these different flavors," Rihanna said. "She's a great dancer, so she's bringing in all these elements of all these different types of technical dance into her videos, but they also make sense with the sound of the songs. I can't really explain her sound. It's not R&B, but it's not dance/pop. It's just really good!"
Rihanna's Loud is set for release November 16.
Do you want to hear a Rihanna/ Cheryl Cole duet? Let us know in the comments!